Experimental investigation of thermal decomposition of Bazhenov formation kerogen: Mechanism and application for thermal enhanced oil recovery

Tatiana Bondarenko, Alexey Cheremisin, Elena Kozlova, Irina Zvereva, Mikhail Chislov, Mikhail Myshenkov, Vadim Novakowski

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Bazhenov formation is the key kerogen-bearing oil shale reserve in Russia. Therefore, as recovery from conventional reservoirs decreases, the need to find enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in order to develop Bazhenov formation becomes evident. Despite the huge amount of reserves, oil shales in Russia have not been developed extensively due to the absence of suitable recovery technique. High pressure air injection (HPAI) is one of the recovery techniques that has a potential to become the main recovery method. In order to design this method correctly, different aspects must be investigated. To do that, thermal analysis methods should be implemented. In this work, thermomicroscopy, simultaneous thermal analysis and open system pyrolysis were performed to investigate kerogen conversion process. The optical thermomicroscopy showed changes in the macrostructure and the morphology of the Bazhenov shale sample during heating up to 720 °C with the heating rate 10 °C/min. It was demonstrated that the conversion of kerogen into hydrocarbons caused increasing in sample porosity. Geometrical characteristics of pores such as size and shape were determined, dynamic events during the heating were investigated. During the air purge, intensive fracturing occurred along the voids formed due to oxidation of organic matter at 450 °C. The simultaneous thermal analysis (STA) revealed linear relationship between TOC and heat value for single well samples. Interval of oxidation reactions was determined. Bulk-kinetic parameters (activation energy and frequency factor) were calculated by numerical inversion of pyrolysis data using the Kinetics2015 optimization software. Fixing the A factor to a 2×1014s−1and using a spacing of 1 kcal/mole in the discrete activation energy distribution were investigated. In result, solution for different samples along the well was rather stable comparing to traditional approach.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)288-296
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Bazhenov formation
    • High pressure air injection
    • Kerogen
    • Kinetics
    • Pyrolysis
    • Simultaneous thermal analysis
    • Thermal enhanced oil recovery
    • Thermomicroscopy


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